Mom-Boss Mondays Are Here!
What is Mom-Boss Monday?
It is a series of interviews with some of the best mom-bosses around! We are going to find out what businesses moms are running, how they are managing being the boss of a household and of a business, and all the things that inspire these moms to keep being amazing. I’m so excited to kick off this series and hope you will find camaraderie and inspiration in each post!
Time for interview number one!
An Interview With Elizabeth Richardson
Elizabeth Richardson is the creator, owner, and mom behind the completely perfect quilts at Libby Ann Quilts. Her shop specializes in making gorgeous custom designed minky fabric quilts and blankets for babies and children. People have purchased from her for their own use and for her favorite reason – to give as thoughtful and beautiful gifts.
Elizabeth and I both have kids and meeting up without them seemed to be a monumental task, so we agreed to meet at a local elementary school playground where the kids could run off steam while we talked business. She was right on time for our interview, kids in tow and looking casual but put together – a trait I have always admired about her since we met over a year ago. We got the kids playing, found a shady spot to talk, and got right to the point of things.
Thanks for agreeing to do this with me – I’m so excited! Let’s start by talking about your kids – how many do you have and how old are they?
I have three kids! Two are boys ages 9 and 5 and my youngest is a girl who is 3. The younger two will be in preschool next year having a good time and it will give me a few mornings a week to work uninterrupted.
Yes! That can be vital when trying to run a business!
Can you give me a basic overview of your business and how you got started?
We moved here two years ago and prior to that I had run an in-home day care. After moving from one state to another, starting all over again with another daycare just sounded daunting and wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I spent a year as a stay-at-home mom and I just ..became uninspired and a bit bored. It was rewarding but it wasn’t just quite what I needed.
I had watched a friend from college build a quilting business in another state and I was honestly, a bit jealous. I knew she was doing something I wanted to be doing but felt I never could. Then one day I realized it was time to take the leap and give it a try!
I’ve been making personalized blankets and quilts through my business for 1.5 years now and I can say at this point in time, that it was the right choice. I’m really excited to see where this takes me in the next couple years.
I can tell by the sparkle in her eye when she talks about her business that she really is doing what she loves and it is making all the difference and so now it’s time to talk about something fun.
What has been the most rewarding part of this business for you?
The most rewarding part has been having something I can take total credit for. If that makes sense? To be able to say ‘I did this..’ For me I’m sort of a math geek and I love doing the accounting and record keeping side of a business – which is definitely different than many other creatives in this field.
The other big reward has been being able to provide people with beautiful gifts to give to their daughters, grandchildren, and friends. To be a part of what they give to someone and to help wrap and package something beautifully so they can give it with love to someone else. That’s been great.
Okay, time for the other side of the coin. Have you faced failures? How do you overcome those?
Oh yes I’ve had failures! My original plan was to do traditionally pieced quilts because that was what I had always done. It was very time consuming and when you add in photographing every little thing – which I found out is not my strong suit – it just wasn’t a realistic business model for me.
The fun is in adapting and learning new skills. I sew constantly with minky fabric now and I hadn’t done that before! Yet, here I am doing it every day.
Failure is part of the fun – figuring out what I need to change and do differently and knowing I can get past them and keep going.
You learn, you screw up, I will always do that but I also change and get better.
Part of this series is not just to show women entrepreneurs but specifically ones that are moms as well. Has having a business changed any of your approaches to parenting? Is it hard to find a balance of being a mom and business owner?
Finding the balance is hard! My husband works full time and is in school for his Master’s degree so we are both pretty busy. Thankfully, my kids have a lot of open play opportunities at home, I already really valued open-ended play that they create on their own.
(At this point I’m nodding my head with enthusiasm..she is in my mom tribe on this one)
Coming from that feeling about play I don’t have as much guilt as some moms who start a business. I’m okay with my kids being bored, with them having to figure out things without me. However, I am trying to make a decided action to take the kids out one morning a week to do something just for us, something fun we can do together. You know, find that balance.
Running my own business has made me more selfish..and I’m okay with that. Is that terrible? I mean really it makes me a better person. I’m happier! Sometimes I feel like I’m not as caught up on things – does everyone have clean underwear? – but at the same time I’m such a better person having this thing for myself. It’s worth it.
Do you find yourself staying up late to get things done after the kids go to bed?
Yes! It’s something I’m working on. Originally my sewing studio was in my bedroom. My husband would want to go to bed, I would want to sew, it was difficult. Now that my space has moved downstairs things are better in that regard. I love having this beautiful space I always envisioned where my kids can play while I work and I feel totally inspired.
Okay – I’m almost done with the questioning – I promise! What advice do you have for other women who are looking to start a business whether it is quilting or something different?
Have start up funds or a plan to not take on debt that would cause your family possible financial stress. You don’t want the business to be about that. It is expensive to get started, it is shocking, but if you save up and plan ahead you can be successful without putting yourself in debt you can’t get out of or that will make you so stressed the business isn’t fun.
Although at the same time – just have the nerve to jump in! There will always be things to learn and you can do it. You can learn and experiment as you go. Don’t let someone else’s business plan make your own plan seem like you can’t do it. I did that for a long time as I watched my friend’s business grow. I kept saying I could never do what she did – but I don’t have to do what she did – I can do it my way.
Last question! What do you hope your kids see when they look at you and your business? Do you hope your daughter will take it over one day?
No way! I want my daughter to chase her own dreams, not feel like she has to follow mine. I think that’s what I want my kids to see – that mom followed her dreams and they can follow theirs too.
With that it was time to track down our playground roving kids. Time to sit as mom and mom and watch our kids do what they should be doing right now — playing and having fun.
Though the interview is over, I know that Elizabeth’s work isn’t. Her business is growing and it is her hard work and beautiful craftsmanship that is making it happen. I leave the playground certain that her kids see exactly what she hopes they do when they look at her as a Mom-Boss – a mom who chased her dreams and reached them.
Check Out More From LibbyAnn Quilts!
To see all that Libby Ann Quilts has to offer you can visit her Etsy Store:
Just for you she is offering a discount of $5 off any purchase with the code : LibbyAnn5.
Want bigger and better deals and to keep up on the latest offerings?
Join her Facebook group Libby Ann’s Snuggle Club!
What Mom-Bosses Do You Want To See In This Series? Let Me Know In The Comments!